The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Bill Nunn be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the class of 2021?
There has been a recent, if small, surge of support for the future enshrinement of legendary Steelers scout and personnel director Bill Nunn, who was originally informally hired in 1967 and finally accepted a full-time job in 1970. He would serve as assistant personnel director until 1987, from which point he remained on board until his death in 2014, as a semi-retired scout.
Nunn worked for the Pittsburgh Courier throughout the 50s and 60s before taking the job with the Steelers, which was among the most influential black newspapers in the country. In 1950, he began producing a black college All-American team, which helped bring players like Roosevelt Brown and Deacon Jones to the attention of professional scouts.
While with the Steelers, he had a direct hand in scouting in particular talent from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a list that includes players like John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Donnie Shell, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes, Dwight White, and Glen Edwards.
The Hall of Fame only votes in at most two contributors per year, but it’s hard to come up with many who are equally as worthy as Bill Nunn, who played an essential if publicly understated role in building one of the iconic dynasties of the game, and who also carved out a legacy for HBCUs and their players for decades prior to his formal work in the NFL.